Variation in Structure and Delivery of Care Between Kidney Transplant Centers in the United States

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Although the United States possesses one of the most comprehensive transplant registries in the world, nationally representative data on how transplant care is structured and delivered is lacking. Therefore, we surveyed all 208 adult kidney transplant centers in the United States, excluding 37 pediatric and 58 inactive adult centers. Respondents were asked about the characteristics of their kidney transplant programs (25 items), the structure and process of care (18 items), coordination of care (10 items), and the characteristics of transplant physicians and surgeons (9 items).The survey was completed by directors of 156 transplant centers (75% response). The results demonstrated significant variation between centers in several domains. Sixty-five percent of transplant centers do not have a dedicated transplant pharmacist in outpatient care. Two thirds of transplant centers do not see the kidney transplant recipients at least monthly during the first year. Less than 30% of centers perform joint sit-down or walking rounds between nephrology and transplant surgery.There was significant variation in the structure and process of care in kidney transplantation. This implies variation in the use of resources at the transplant centers. This variation should be studied to determine best practices associated with optimal kidney allograft and patient survival.

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